Monday 23rd September – Neuschwanstein Castle

We woke up to the alarm and despite yesterday’s excesses, didn’t feel too bad. After breakfast we met the group at 9.15 to get a minibus to the castle. The weather has taken a turn for the worse and it was cooler and rainy!

The journey took about 2 hours, travelling through some beautiful countryside, despite the rain. The castle itself is perched high on a rock, overlooking the old palace that Ludwig II’s parents lived in. Neushwanstein literally means new swan stone and was built starting in 1869. Only around 6 rooms have been completed as the building finished when Ludwig died in 1886. Outside though the castle is complete and looks magnificent.

When we arrived, we had a quick coffee stop while our guide, David, went to buy the tickets. We then proceeded to walk up to the castle through a beautiful gorge with waterfalls. Some of the path is literally bolted to the walls!

The walk up took around an hour and every so often you’d get glimpses of the castle. At the top, instead of turning to the castle we headed in the opposite direction to get the classic photo of the castle itself from a high bridge over a gorge. The rain was persistent, but not heavy although it did mean that there were lots of annoying tourists with umbrellas. However, the rain didn’t stop us seeing spectacular views which must be even more glorious on a sunny day.

Flipping tourist umbrellas!

We walked back to the castle ready for a tour inside at 1.25pm, stopping for a quick history lesson about the rise and bizarre demise of Ludwig.

The Germans are very precise! There were about 40 people on the tour and we trooped between the completed rooms. The ones that were finished were very ostentatious, but as you couldn’t take photos inside, there is nothing to share.

The throne room in particular was impressive with high chandeliers, friezes on the walls and a large semicircular decoration above where the throne was intended to be. Bizarrely, one of the rooms was a mock cave!

View from the castle balcony

Having completed the tour, we walked back down the road to the car park, stopping for food and drink on the way.

The rain had finally stopped as we headed back towards Munich. The journey took just over 2.5 hours and we got back at around 6pm. We said goodbye to our leader and then had a quick drink before freshening up and going into the centre for some food.

We went to a restaurant called Haxnbauer which served traditional Bavarian food. Their speciality is pork knuckle and it certainly filled me up. We decided on an early ish night after the excesses of the previous couple of days and went back to the hotel for a night cap. We’re heading into the romantic road tomorrow!

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